Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi is synonymous with the world of Carnatic Music. This impeccable singer, whose voice had almost divine power, is the first singer to receive the greatest bourgeois honor of India, the Bharat Ratna. Honored with the Ramon Magsaysay Award, considered a Nobel Prize in Asia, she became the first Indian musician.
Subbulakshmi, with the affection of Mr. S. For her fans, she was a pioneer in everything related to the empowerment of women. She gave the example and showed the contemporary women of her time. Although she is famous as a representative of Carnatic music, her experience with classical Hindustani music was not silly. Subbulakshmi was not limited to music, as she ventured into the field of interpretation.
M.S. Subbulakshmi was introduced at a young age in the Carnatic Music. It was because she was born into a family of musicians. While Akkammal, her grandmother, was a violinist, her mother was a well-known Veena player.
Since her mother came from the Devadasi community, the shows were something Mr.S was used to early in her life. As a child, I had many conversations with famous musicians like Karaikudi Sambasivayer, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, and Mazhavarayanendal Subgarama Bhagavathar. This attitude to music and musicians has made her choose her career at a young age.
Subbulakshmi began her education with her mother Shanmu kavadiver Ammal. Then she got to know the nuances of Carnatic music under Sarnangudi Srinivasa Iyer. While learning the music of Carnatic, she also learned Hindustani’s music with the famous singer Pandit Narayanrao Vyas. M.S learned quickly, ending her studies very early.
Subbulakshmi gave her first public presentation at the famed Rockford Temple in Tiruchirappalli when she was only eleven years old. The performance was supported by popular musicians such as violinist Mysore Chowdiah and Dakshinamurthy Pillai, a well-known Mridangam player.
Her biggest breakthrough came in 1929 at the Madras Music Academy. The few music lovers present at the event were hypnotized by the skills of a 13-year-old girl who could sing bhajans with such grace and fluidity. Impressed by her great knowledge of music, the Academy invited her to several other shows, and when she was 17, Subbulakshmi was a big draw in all her concerts.
Subbulakshmi quickly became an Indian ambassador for all things cultural and represented the country at many foreign festivals. In 1963, she was invited to Scotland to attend the famous Edinburgh International Festival. Her hypnotic performance in the UK paved the way for her next tour abroad when she was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In 1982 Subbulakshmi had the opportunity to show her talent in the famous Royal Albert Hall in London. Five years later, she invited the Russian government to attend the India Festival in Moscow. Subbulakshmi also traveled to places like Canada and the Far East, and the eulogies followed her wherever she went.
Subbulakshmi has received countless awards and honors. Some of them are mentioned below:
• Bharat Ratna – In 1998, Mr. S. Subbulakshmi became the first musician to receive the highest civilian award in India.
• Ramon Magsaysay Award: This prize is also known as the Asian Nobel Prize. In 1974, Mr.S was the first Indian to receive this prestigious award.
• Sangeet Natak Akademi Prize: In 1956, she became the proud recipient of this award for her contribution to the field of Carnatic music.
• Sangeetha Kalanidhi: This prize is awarded by the Madras Academy of Music and is considered the most prestigious of Carnatic music. She was bagged by her in 1968.
• Sangeetha Kalasikhamani – In 1975, she won this award, which was awarded by the Indian Fine Arts Society.
• Kalidas Samman: In 1988, she was honored by the government of Madhya Pradesh with Kalidas Samman.
• Indira Gandhi Award – she won this prestigious award in 1990. Presented by the Government of India, this prize was awarded for her efforts in national integration.
• Mr. S. Subbulakshmi died on December 11, 2004, in Chennai. Her funeral was attended by hundreds of fans and music lovers from all over the country. Many national leaders like the then President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam also paid tribute. Her mortal remains were recorded in flames with the honors of the state.